Tag Archives: Torchwood

I’ve got a lot of listening to do

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First off– you guys rock!  I haven’t had this many views in one day for ages.  So, thank you all very much, and please come back and play soon!  (and leave comments so I know who you are, please.  I would like to visit your blogs, too.)

Secondly,  I have 4 new Doctor Who-esque podcasts to listen to now: Staggering Stories, Flashing Blade, Radio Free Skaro, Tin Dog.  I love you guys, but everyone comes out on a Sunday!  I end up listening to you all at once, and then having nothing but old ones all of the rest of the week.  Yes, I know I should pace myself, but it’s not going to happen.

Third, I have just realized that I never reviewed the third recently-released Torchwood radio play, so I think that will be the next one up to bat (or, perhaps, the brilliance that is “Jeeves and Wooster”).  Which ever I choose, you all have some treats coming!

this is my ipod.  i love him.

this is my ipod. i love him.

sorry for the delay…

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Hi, everyone–

Sorry I haven’t put up any posts recently.  I was having a lovely long weekend with my family.  🙂

Going up tomorrow will FINALLY be the second part of my commentary of Robots of Death.

In the meantime, go and enjoy the many anniversaries of the Doctor Who podcasts.  

They are lovely!

 

50– Staggering Stories

 

 

 

150- Radio Free Skaro

 

 

 

100- Tin Dog Podcast

 

 

 

7- Flashing Blade

Torchwood: fit the second– Golden Age

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I’m finally ready to review the second new Torchwood radio play: Golden Age by James Goss. For my review of the first new play Asylum, click here.

This one is now on itunes to buy, so you can listen to it even if you missed out on the BBC website.

Basic plot: The Torchwood team are investigating strange energy waves and people’s disappearances in Bombay, India.  Jack is surprised to discover that the origin of these energy spikes seems to be the old building of Torchwood India, which he shut down in the 1924.  Inside, he finds his old *friend* apparently not a day older than she was when the sun never set on the British Empire, nor has anything in the building changed.  He makes it his business to find out why, and how it connects to the disappearances in the city.

Once again, the Torchwood team split up here: Gwen and Ianto/ Jack and Duchess.  Jack certainly got more airtime in this episode, and it’s always nice to meet one of his old flames.  Are there ANY of these folks who don’t want to kill Jack?  (Also, much has been made of Jack calling Ianto his “assistant” when talking to the Duchess.  I did quirk an eyebrow at that one).   Gwen and Ianto do the exploring of the house and its grounds.  Most of their speech is reaction to what they are seeing. 

The episode on the whole was less of a concept piece than the previous two.  It reminded me more of one of the slower Classic Who episodes, minus the political intrigue sub-plots.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode, but I think that if I were a Brit, the plot’s main thrust of longing for the “Golden Age” of the British Empire would resonate more with me.  As it was, I could appreciate it, but I didn’t own it, so to speak.  They do spend so much of the episode building up the glories of the by-gone years, that when Jack confronts Duchess with our modern, P-C sensibilities, it feels a bit forced.  Perhaps this reflects the conflicted nature of Brit society?  I just don’t know.

That being said, this was an episode that could have worked well on television, in that it could have been set in any of those period 1920’s sets that the BBC does so well.  The fact that this stately home was in the middle of India WAS crucial in the plot, but we saw/ heard very little of Bombay itself.  Speaking of which, I think that the radio play producers could learn from the Focus on the Family Radio Theater people about realistic sound design.  They spent too much time describing locations with words instead of allowing clear and distinct Foley to do it for them.  We heard the big things, like smashing glass, sure, but what about footsteps, ticking clocks, clink of croquet balls on the lawn, etc?  Bring the setting to life, guys, come on.

**Spoiler** As for the ending, well… I saw it coming as soon as we got a glimpse of what was going on the house, and, though I understood the conversation about the machine– the actual thing itself didn’t make much sense.  The last time the shadow hooks made it all the way into the factories blocks away before the machine went critical; this time they don’t even make it out of the room.  Huh??

Should you listen to it?  Yes.

Is it the best one?  No.

 I’m interested to hear what you thought, folks. 

Torchwood Radio Plays– fit the first: Asylum

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The first of the new Torchwood radio plays was on BBC Radio 4 last week, and although it is no longer available on their iplayer, it has made its way onto itunes for quite a reasonable price.

Ah, Torchwood!  The show has really grown on me over the past several years.  I like its ability to make me interested and uncomfortable at the same time [Countrycide from season one being a prime example].  Sure, Torchwood has its flaws and can be a bit schizophrenic at times, trying to decide quite what it wants to be, but I think that those hit-and-miss times are well balanced by the strong acting and creative plot elements apparent in nearly every episode.  Besides, any show that can give us the farce/horror of Something Borrowed, the heart-breaking final minutes of Out of Time, and the chilling fairies of Small Worlds, and the pathetic sweetness of Random Shoes– all in the first two seasons– means that they have something for everyone. 

I’ll say upfront that I think Torchwood works pretty well on the radio.  In the tradition of “Lights Out” and “Dimension X,” the Torchwood radio plays use the theater of the mind to conjure ideas, locations, and situations that would be difficult (I’d say impossible, but with CGI these days…) to put on the screen.  Another nice bonus for the listener is, since the cast is so small now, each character really gets some time to develop– this was especially the case in “Lost Souls.”  That was, for those of you who don’t know, the first Torchwood radio play.  It was in honor of the activation of the Hadron Collider last winter.  The episode served as a lovely transitional piece from the end of season 2 and let Jack, Gwen, and Ianto mourn the deaths of Owen and Tosh.

To get down to the business at hand, we have the second radio drama from the original cast, “Asylum” by Anita Sullivan.   This story opens with Gwen’s former partner in the police (P.C. Andy) catching a strange girl shop-lifting.  When he sees what looks like a lazer gun, he calls Torchwood in.  The team tries to help Freda, only to discover that she is more than she seems…  I won’t blow the rest of the plot for you.  I want you to enjoy the episode’s many questions.

What did I like? 

*The story is a simple enough one that it fits comfortably into the 45 minute episode, but interesting enough that I kept wanting to know more.  This simple a story wouldn’t have worked as a television episode, but it fits nicely into the radio format.

*The writing is strong and well-considered.  I really enjoyed the blend of mystery and science-fiction.

*Given my interest in words, the discussion about the girl’s language is intriguing. 

*Speaking of which, Erin Richards, the actress playing the young girl named Freda, is excellent!  She really brought the role to life as a believable, confused, and vulnerable teenager.   In fact, this was very much the Gwen, Andy, and Freda show.  All three of the actors really have their chance to shine.  Ianto and Jack are lesser lights here, although Barrowman’s radio talents are improving nicely and David-Lloyd is consistantly strong in this format.

*The debate between Andy and Gwen over how to treat the girl highlighted the conflicts between personal freedom and community safety that we have to consider in our turbulent times.  This is the sort of thing that Torchwood does well.  It’s a serious issue with many shades of gray, and definately a concern for intelligent adults.

What didn’t I like?  

–  *Spoiler* They spent a good deal of time having Freda talk to herself in a Gollum/Smeagel sort of way.  I was expecting it to factor into the resolution more.

-The ending felt a bit rushed, like they needed about 5-10 more minutes to really give it the time it deserved.

– The Torchwood theme music feels a bit heavy as the tags on a radio drama.

-I would have liked to hear more of Ianto, who has a very nice voice presence on the radio.

Overall-  an interesting episode and well-worth the time.  I’m pleased.  Let me know what you thought.

Review of “Golden Age” coming later this week…